Welcome to the first in our series of regular photographer interviews. Today we have Attilio Fiumarella. We became aware of Attilio's work in 2014 when we selected him to receive a Some Cities bursary to produce the award winning The Swimmers series in Balsall Heath , Birminingham.
Attilio Fiumarella is an award-winning photographer based in Birmingham.
He moves between architectural and documentary photography, often preferring a storytelling way to explore and question the quotidian life.
His project "The Swimmers" was selected among the best photos of the year in the Kolga Tbilisi 2014 and won the first prize of the RBSA’s photographic prize in 2015. Attilio was long-listed, out of over 3,000 entries from artists in 67 countries worldwide, for the ninth Aesthetica Art Prize, and published in the anthology Future Now 2016.
Attilio's work has been displayed across the UK, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Georgia, in both group and solo exhibitions.
1. How would you describe your photography?
Errant, itinerant, a work in progress. Evolution, devolution. A way of life.
2. When did you first realise that you wanted to be a photographer?
The very first time I dreamed about becoming a photographer was when I was 11 years old, during a journey across Europe in which I borrowed my father’s camera. An Olympus OM-1 that I still have with me. Since that Summer, the dream stayed latent for a long while. Until 2010, when it became reality.
3. What has been the most valuable lesson, training or mentoring that you’ve received?
The most valuable lesson I took into in photography, I borrowed from my mentor in Architecture. I have been trained to understand and respect the place where a new architecture is designed. Observation is the first tool to understand the environment and you need always to act in the less intrusive way possible. Innovation is a possible way to respect those principles.
4. Who has inspired you most in photography?
Many, but mainly Caravaggio. Among photographers are Robert Mapplethorpe, Luigi Ghirri, Mimmo Jodice, Gabrile Basilico, Elliot Erwitt…
5. What are you working on right now?
This is the second year I’m working on a project about Diversity. In my investigation I aim to understand how our daily landscape is influenced by the interaction with new cultures. This project is focused mainly in the Birmingham’s landscape.
6. What do you have in your camera bag?
Not much. I like to going around light. Canon 5D, a 24-70mm 2.8, a 50mm 1.4, a 17mm Tilt and Shift, speedlight and a notebook. But often is just the camera with one lens and the notebook.
7. What has been – or is - the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your photography?
Sometime is difficult to understand if you are going the right way with your work. Often you are alone with your ideas and you are not sure whether what you are doing will result in the right outcome or if it will be understood. The best thing to do in those situations is to confront someone with your work.
8. Which photograph do you wish you'd taken? There are many photos that escape my camera, in special when I didn’t bring one. That photos are taken with my eyes and saved in a box in my mind.
9. Can you recommend a photographer’s work you think our readers should check out?
He was my professor in the Master I did in Architecture. He is from Naples (as I am) and strongly influenced my decision of getting into photography. I was inspired by all his work, in special his early experimental and social work.
10. If you could save one photobook from a fire which one would it be?
“Lezioni di Fotografia”, Luigi Ghirri. There is a lot of text there, but with a bit of imagination every word is a new image. [This] Is the book from where I started.
Above photo (c) Attilio Fiumarella